USB 2.0 interface has become in inalienable part of the users’ life. Numerous peripheral devices supporting this interface have significantly increased the functionality of our computers. The actual effect resulting from the shift to USB 2.0 (from USB 1.1) pushed forward the development of new technical solutions taking advantage of Hi-Speed USB potential. The best example here will be the ever growing number of external optical storage devices supporting data recording as well.
The theoretical bandwidth of the USB 2.0 interface reaches 480Mbit/s (60MB/s), which is a pretty impressive number I should say. Much more impressive than the previous maximum of 12Mbit/s (1.5MB/s). However, far not everything is so simple. In reality, the contemporary USB 2.0 controllers are simply unable to ensure maximum theoretical performance, that they are supposed to show. Though it is also no calamity yet. The second part of the problem is that the actual controller performance also depends a lot on the manufacturer. It is true for the integrated mainboard USB 2.0 controllers as well as for the ones integrated into the peripheral devices to be connected to them. The final performance will depend a lot on the way these devices get along.
In reality there might be a situation when a high-performance external device connected via the USB 2.0 interface will not prove up to your expectations because the integrated controller in your system will not be able to ensure sufficient bandwidth. When you buy a printer, scanner or any other device complying with the Hi-Speed USB specification, you will not be able to make any hardware changes to it. However, you could make it work at its maximum speed if you select the most effective USB 2.0 controller for your system. Therefore, you will probably ask me: what chip should the controller be based on to ensure the maximum performance for my system? This is exactly what we are going to talk about today.
For our comparative investigation we selected three most popular chips. Two of them were used in USB 2.0 PCI adapters, and in the third case we will talk about a USB 2.0 controller of the ICH5 South Bridge.
Tekram DC602T USB 2.0 Controller
Tekram controller card is based on NEC 7200100AGM chip. It features three external and two internal USB 2.0 ports. The controller supports PCI 2.2 interface. Besides the controller card, the retail package also includes a user’s guide, a CD-disk with the drivers and electronic documentation, and a USB 2.0 cable.